Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Muller on Korematsu Day at BC Law

[We have the following announcement from our friends at Boston College]

We invite you to join us on Friday, January 27, in the Rare Book Room [of the Boston College School fo Law] for our third event of the Legal History Roundtable 2016-2017. We are delighted to welcome Eric Muller, Moore Distinguished Professor of Law, University of North Carolina.  Professor Muller has generously agreed to be with us for two events in honor of Fred Korematsu Day. 

First, Professor Muller will be presenting at noon in a presentation, "Colors of Confinement," co-sponsored with APALSA and Nutter, McClennen, and Fish. It will be in 315.  Professor Dean Hashimoto has been instrumental in working to once again commemorate Korematsu Day this year.

Second, Professor Muller will be presenting a new paper in the Rare Book Room of the Boston College Law School Library at 3:30, with refreshments are available beginning at 3:15 pm. outside the Library Conference Room.  His paper is entitled “Of Coercion and Accommodation: Looking at Japanese American Imprisonment through a Law Office Window"
Crucial to the implementation of the War Relocation Authority’s (WRA) regulations of its detention camps for the uprooted Japanese American community of the West Coast were the WRA “project attorneys,” white lawyers stationed in the camps who gave legal advice to administrators and internees alike. These lawyers left behind a voluminous correspondence that opens a new window on the WRA’s relationship with its prisoners, a relationship heretofore understood as encompassing coercion on one side and either compliance or resistance on the other. This paper uses the voluminous correspondence of the project attorney at the Heart Mountain Relocation Center in Wyoming as a new lens for viewing the regulatory relationship between the WRA and the imprisoned community. It focuses on three of the many matters about which the project attorney gave advice: the design of the camp’s community government, its criminal justice system, and its business enterprises. Evidence from this one law office suggests that on many key issues, the relationship between the WRA and the internees was marked not so much by coercion as by reciprocal accommodation, with each taking account of some of the preferences of the other. While the data are from just one of the ten WRA camps, they suggest a need to reconsider our understanding of how this American system of racial imprisonment operated.

Eric L. Muller is the Dan K. Moore Distinguished Professor in Jurisprudence and Ethics at the University of North Carolina School of Law. He holds an A.B. from Brown University and a J.D. from Yale Law School. In addition to many articles about the wartime imprisonment of Japanese Americans in the United States, he has published three books on the subject: Free to Die for their Country: The Story of the Japanese American Draft Resisters in World War II” (University of Chicago Press 2001); American Inquisition: The Hunt for Japanese American Disloyalty in World War II (University of North Carolina Press 2007); and Colors of Confinement: Rare Kodachrome Photographs of Japanese American Incarceration in World War II (University of North Carolina Press 2012).

[We add that we heard Professor Muller present a version of “Of Coercion and Accommodation: Looking at Japanese American Imprisonment through a Law Office Window" and promise that you’ll be glad you attended.]